Sunday evening has come again and of course it signals the end of yet another weekend. Of course, as with ALMOST every weekend, it would not have been complete without seeing at least one film, though I AGAIN decided that seeing multiple offerings was in order to keep up with the new ones coming out in the midst of an upcoming month that will see EVERY weekend have at LEAST one day already spoken for. So…gotta get while the getting’s good time-wise to catch the films I intended to see. That said, I bring you the first of this weekend’s double feature….”The Equalizer”
SEE THE TRAILER HERE
Re-teaming director Antoine Fuqua and Oscar Award-winning actor Denzel Washington, (while also being based on the 1980’s TV series of the same name), the story takes us to present-day Boston, MA and into the very structured-by-routine life of one Robert McCall (Washington), who literally has every moment of his day timed out…from the point of getting up, showering, getting ready for work, and having breakfast, to then heading to the local Home Depot-style store he now works at, going about his duties despite the ribbing of co-workers who are aiming to have some minor laughs at his expense. He also seems intent on assisting a co-worker, Ralphie (Johnny Skourtis) achieve a goal he is attempting to reach, illustrating McCall’s ability to be a firm but positive influence on those around him. As it appears sleep is something that eludes him, McCall ends up at a local late-night diner to read a book and also have a previously established pattern of nightly conversation with a call girl, Teri (Chloe Grace Moretz), who loves asking him questions about what he’s reading while he seems to be quietly invested in trying to help her get into a better life. Them when a chance encounter with Teri’s “owner” Slavi (David Meunier), a member of the Russian Mob, ultimately ends up showing McCall a bigger glimpse into the world she inhabits, he decides he has to do something about it. The resulting mayhem brings a new player to Boston in the form of Teddy (Marton Csokas), the right hand enforcer to the Russian’s main boss Vladimir Pushkin (Vladimir Kulich). Using the resources of a corrupt cop, Masters (David Harbour), Teddy wreaks havoc himself in his search for McCall, and as the body count starts piling up, McCall in turn continues to reign chaos down on the Russian’s operations in Boston. In the midst of it all, though, McCall is battling his own inner conflict until he decides that there is only one way left to find out who his adversary is and then make the choice to become someone he thought he could leave behind, even after he visits two former friends from his mysterious past, Brian & Susan Plummer (Bill Pullman & Melissa Leo). Soon, the inevitable showdown between McCall & Teddy comes to a raging, violent conclusion. After one final maneuver, McCall returns to his life, and as we get one other moment to see the results of a life he’s impacted, he himself makes a point to indicate that helping people in need is what he’s going to have his focus on moving forward, with a nice little nod to the original show to boot. Per usual, any further detail would be Spoiler-ville.
Hey, just going to say it right off the bat….as brutal and intense as the film is (and MUCH more so than the TV series, of course), this is the type of role that Denzel Washington absolutely excels at. This updated version of Robert McCall very much fits the modern-day story being told here. Washington is solid when it comes to really giving us this character as someone who has done the things he never wants to talk about, and has regrets in doing, from his past and believed that he could truly leave it all behind him. The quiet resolve McCall has and even just seeing how meticulous his daily routine is, illustrates a man looking for peace of mind, heart, and spirit. Also evident is McCall’s desire to see people to could be in much better places in life REACH that goal, and if he can do something directly to assist them in reaching that place, he will with all he’s got. It is only when pushed to his limit via knowing that he can act on a harsh circumstance that needs corrected, do we see his past come out. Again, Washington just delivers this so believably and with an intensity that simply MAKES you want to root for the guy to dispense the justice that is required. Marton Csokas is another actor who excels in playing certain types of roles, usually downright evil people, and here is NO exception. “Teddy” is one NASTY individual, and Csokas gives him to us as the unfeeling, unyielding, unscrupulous villain he is supposed to be. The rest of the supporting cast is solid, especially Moretz, who continues to surprise me with the acting maturity she has for someone so young. She plays Teri with a vulnerability that really does affect you as the viewer, at least for me it worked that way. As you would expect, given this film was done by the same director as “Training Day”, the film IS brutally violent in several ways, and yet, I must say I didn’t feel it was gratuitous really, but just so RAW in it’s execution that you find yourself cringing with “OH’s!!” during several points. And you may never look at a Garden Center at Home Depot or Lowes the same way again! This is blunt force at it’s grittiest. I didn’t personally like the extra amounts of language often thrown in during specific scenes, though it was not surprising to find it used that much here. Again, it really IS Denzel that makes you get into this film, a performance for me as only he can bring about for the character being played.
As always, this is all for YOUR consideration and comment. Until next time, thank you for reading!